Monday, July 22, 2024

Massive Belleville ferry terminal redevelopment to move ahead with federal funding


It’s official, construction of the new Belleville ferry terminal will go ahead after the federal government committed $41.6M toward the project Friday morning.

With the funding announcement, the province, who had been waiting on a financial contribution from Ottawa said the massive development would go ahead.

“The new facility we’re building is going to generate hundreds of new jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in additional visitor spending over the coming decades,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.

“A modern pre-clearance terminal will make travel more convenient for tourists, while enhancing security and trade between Vancouver Island and Washington state, improving Vancouver Island’s tourism sector and boosting regional business investment.”

With a budget of $303.9 million,  discussions are ongoing between the province and ferry operators Black Ball Ferry Line and FRS Clipper regarding their financial contribution.

The province said the upgrade aims to align Belleville Terminal with the Canada-US Land, Rail, Marine and Air Transport Preclearance Agreement.

Through the use of pre-clearance, travellers will complete the US customs and immigration process in Victoria, allowing ferrygoers to exit the vessel in the United States without additional delays.

According to the province, the terminal generates over $57M in government revenues, $174 in direct spending within BC and $155 to the provincial gross domestic product.

According to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, the redevelopment of the terminal is projected to create 3,200 regional jobs within 20 years and will generate approximately $257M in visitor spending.

The initial phase of the project, scheduled for completion in 2024, will involve the construction of a temporary terminal within the Steamship Building, along with the development of a new wharf.

The Canada Border Services Agency and Black Ball ferry operations will continue to use the existing spaces, ramps and vehicle areas.

Once the first phase is completed,  the existing FRS Clipper terminal infrastructure will be demolished, replacing it with a LEED Gold pre-clearance terminal.

Without the modernization of the terminal the government claims the result would be the removal of US customs services from Vancouver Island, financial losses to small businesses and large-industry alike, significant job losses and even existing operations being shut down.

Prior to the pandemic, the Belleville Terminal processed international goods, services and passengers while supporting over 2,200 jobs.

The new Belleville Terminal will include a three-storey building with commercial space available at street level, vehicle pick up/drop off services, food and entertainment for terminal users, dedicated space for Indigenous artwork and storytelling and accessibility for all terminal users.

The procurement process is set to being in the upcoming weeks and the project is expected to be completed in 2027.

Victoria Buzz Staff
Your inside source for Greater Victoria happenings. Established in 2012.

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